Over a week ago, Kerri got off the school bus and told me that a girl kept "poking" her in the head with her finger. The third or fourth grade girl was sitting behind her on the bus. Kerri told her to stop, and the girl said "No." And the boy sitting next to the girl laughed and encouraged her to continue harassing Kerri. One of our neighbor girls moved Kerri to the back of the bus, closer to her so she could keep an eye on Kerri. The girl just moved too and kept it up, even though several kids defended Kerri and told the girl to stop. The bus driver did and said nothing.
I called the school and spoke to the principal. She said she would talk to the girl, and that I should also report it to the bus company, since it is the bus driver's responsibility to file an incident report at the end of the day, and the principal has had a few incidents reported by students and parents that were never written up by the new driver. So I called the bus company, and they said they would put an observer on the bus to see what was going on.
The following school day, Kerri got off the bus and reported that the girl hit her on the head when she was getting off the bus on her stop. She did not hurt Kerri, just annoyed her. And there was no monitor on the bus. Kerri refused to ride the bus again.
The following morning, I took Kerri to school and spoke with the principal in person. She said she would talk to the girl again, and assign her a seat on the bus to ensure this did not happen again. And then the principal told Kerri that the bus driver was the responsible adult on the bus, and that she should report it to him before she got off the bus, in addition to telling Mommy and a teacher. She also promised to follow up with the bus company. As we walked away, Kerri informed me that she did not think the bus driver was a responsible adult, since he never says anything when bad things happen. Although I did not say so, I think Kerri is right. And she still refused to ride the bus.
The bus company did eventually put a monitor on the bus, and he yelled at all the kids who were misbehaving. The principal threatened to ride the bus home with them. The girl and Kerri were both talked to (separately) by the principal, and the girl approached Kerri later at school to apologize. She told Kerri she was sorry. And Kerri told her "that wasn't right.". And the girl said, "You're right.", and walked away. Kerri told me she did not want to say "that's OK", because it wasn't OK. She has a very valid point. And then Kerri said, "what was I supposed to say then?". I told Kerri next time she can just say "thank you for apologizing", or "apology accepted."
So it has been over a week that I have been driving Kerri to school. She still does not want to ride the bus. And although she was not physically hurt, the incident reminded her of the bullying she went through at the old school. And I told her I would drive her to school for as long as it took until she felt comfortable getting back on the bus. But at some point, she is going to have to face her fears and get back on the bus.
Life with Kerri can be fragile at times.